Tuesday, December 19, 2023 | The Business Journal, written by Guy D'Astolfo
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – David Perrico, the Las Vegas-based bandleader and director of the house band for the NFL’s Raiders, will return to Youngstown for his first hometown concert.
Perrico and 13 musicians and vocalists from his Pop Strings Orchestra will take center stage Feb. 14 at Powers Auditorium, accompanied by the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra.
Pop Strings, which performs regularly in the casino city, is known for its energetic orchestral versions of pop and rock songs. The Valentine’s Day concert will mark the first time Perrrico will bring the show to Youngstown – or any city.
The acclaimed trumpet player grew up on the West Side and graduated from Chaney High School and attended the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University. He has lived in Las Vegas for 20 years, where he owns a music production company.
It’s been 30 years since he’s played in Youngstown – it was in his college years – although he did take part in the Tony Leonardi memorial concert in August at YSU. The late Leonardi was a well-known jazz professor at YSU and taught Perrico and countless other musicians.
Perrico is known for putting a Las Vegas spin on modern songs, using a 70-piece orchestra and at least a half-dozen vocalists.
“It’s a symphony that plays like a band,” he said in a phone interview. “We count off and go. It creates excitement, and it’s a lot of fun.”
For his Youngstown concert, which will start at 7:30 p.m., he will bring two singers, a rhythm section and a string section.
The set list of at least 17 songs will include a Bruno Mars medley, Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer” and songs by AC/DC, Earth Wind & Fire, Michael Jackson, Led Zeppelin and the opera “Pagliacci,” among others.
He described what the audience can expect.
“We’ll get them comfortable with some familiar music in the first half,” he said. “In the second half, I will talk about Youngstown. I still consider it home. I live in Las Vegas, but a part of me is connected to Youngstown, and my family and friends are there.”
The highlight will be “Youngstown, SteelTown,” his seven-minute tribute to the city released last year. To see the video, click HERE.
Physical copies of Pop Strings music, including the album that includes “Youngstown, SteelTown,” will be available to purchase.
Perrico and YSO officials had been talking about doing the concert for a year. They hammered out the details when he was in town for the Leonardi concert.
Perrico has always maintained his connection to his hometown and said he’s thrilled for the opportunity.
“I stay in touch with a lot of people from Youngstown,” he said. “They visit me when they come out to Vegas. A lot came to Reynolds Hall [in Las Vegas] when we recorded the Youngstown song.
It will be the first time Perrico and his ensemble will travel to perform with a regional orchestra, but it likely won’t be the last. Perrico said he would like to make such appearances part of his plan going forward.
His is a style loosely based on that of Doc Severinsen, the former NBC bandleader and trumpeter who became famous in the ’70s as leader of “The Tonight Show” band. “He was one of my idols,” Perrico said. “I loved what he did his whole career as a soloist and conductor of pops concerts. The difference between mine and other pops orchestras is I’m doing bands like AC/DC and Journey, true to the originals but accentuated with my arrangements.”
In 1994, with his undergrad days at YSU drawing to a close, Perrico left Youngstown to go on the road with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. The stint was meant to be a temporary one, as a substitute for vacationing band members, but it became full time and was the start of his music career.
He and Pop Strings have since become a fixture in Las Vegas. The orchestra has maintained residencies at several major casino venues, including Caesars Palace and the MGM Grand, and also at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Perrico also owns DPG Enterprises, which employs 100 musicians and manages 20 bands.
With his instantly recognizable hat, Perrico performs at all Las Vegas Raiders games. Perched on a stage in the new team’s new Allegiant Stadium, he and his ensemble play for the crowd before the opening kickoff, at halftime and after every Raiders score.
Perrico and Pop Strings have performed at corporate events in Vegas with members of the team’s Raiderettes cheer squad.Tickets for the Youngstown concert range from $35 to $85 (plus applicable fees) and will go on sale Friday, Dec. 22, at the DeYor Performing Arts Centre box office, downtown; by phone at 330 259 9651; and online at experienceyourarts.org. Discounts are available for YSO season ticket holders and students.
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